Discover Cornwall area’s rich history during 2018 Heritage Fair

February 7, 2018

Heritage Fair

Heritage Fair

Discover Cornwall and SD&G’s rich history during the annual Heritage Fair on Saturday, February 24th.

The fair runs from 9 am to 4 pm in the centre court (1st floor) of Cornwall Square and brings together 14 different heritage organizations dedicated to preserving and promoting the region’s history. Experienced volunteers from the various organizations will be on hand with interesting exhibits and to answer questions.

The event – organized by Heritage Cornwall – is free and open to all.

“The Heritage Fair is a shared celebration of our rich local heritage,” said Mr. Don Smith, Heritage Cornwall member and Associate Curator at the Cornwall Community Museum, one of the participating exhibitors. “We have so many great stories and achievements from our past that are worth sharing. We hope residents and visitors will visit the fair and take some time to learn more about the region’s history.”

The Heritage Fair ties in with Heritage Week, a province-wide initiative to encourage communities to reflect on their contributions to Ontario, how heritage is conserved, promoted and commemorated, and how they might shape the future.

Participating exhibitors include:

Akwesasne Kahwatsi:re Genealogy & Historical Society
Akwesasne Kahwatsi:re Genealogy & Historical Society is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who have a passion for local history and genealogy. Their office hosts a growing number of resources including local church records, newspaper & obituary clippings, books & magazines, and family tree software. Events include guest speakers and research trips.

Cornwall Community Museum
Cornwall Community Museum & Archives, operated by the SD&G Historical Society, specializes in researching local people, places and organizations as well as in sharing our heritage online, on-site, through classes, news articles, books, community partnerships & more.

Admission is free and donations are greatly appreciated. Located in the 1840 Wood family farm house, now situated in Cornwall’s downtown waterfront park at the foot of York Street, Museum staff are pleased to have Cornwall Tourism share some of their beautiful space during the summer months.

Dalkeith Historical Society
In the mid 1700s the area in and around the future Dalkeith was being surveyed into lots & concessions by the Crown. Dalkeith would be located on the 16th concession of Lancaster. By the 1890’s both the Glen Elg settlement (Kirkhill) and the Knoydart settlement (now Binette Road) had arrived and settled prior to the arrival of the Robertsons who were the founding family of Dalkeith. Lot 7, Concession 16 was deeded to James Ferguson.

The Society maintains an educational website and helps to preserve and promote the history of the area.

The Friends of Crysler’s Farm Battlefield
The Friends of the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield is a non-profit volunteer group formed in 2000. Members are dedicated to the preservation of the memory of the “Battle that Saved Canada” which took place east of Morrisburg on November 11, 1813 during the War of 1812-14 . They do so through educational activities for all ages as well as a re-enactment of the battle on designated years at the site of the original battle near the Battlefield Memorial, Upper Canada Village. A multinational historical event, the weekend long military encampment (14 and 15 July) attracts participants and their families from the U.S. and often Europe.

Genealogie et archives Saint-Laurent
Genealogie et archives Saint-Laurent is a resource center for genealogical research using local family histories and archives (microfilm, Drouin dictionaries, obituary collection, land deeds and some wills, church records and specialized Internet sites. etc). Established in 1984, it is still staffed by bilingual passionate volunteers who are in the Cornwall (local history) Room of the Cornwall Public Library from 1 pm to 4 pm each weekday other than Wednesdays. They also respond to e-mail and phone requests.

The Bishop’s House of Glengarry
The Bishop’s House of Glengarry is a Canadian Historic Site in St. Raphael’s. The parish and community of St. Raphael’s is considered the cradle of Catholicism in Ontario. The Catholic Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall was preparing to demolish this structure when a citizen’s group stepped up. In 2015 an agreement between the Diocese and the non-profit citizens’ group Glengarry Fencibles Trust enabled the Trust to take on responsibility for the site, bring about stabilization and begin planning for future productive use of the premises.

The deal came about after 11 years of campaigning and negotiating by the Fencibles to ensure the preservation of the grand, three-storey stone house, built in 1808 by Rev. Alexander Macdonell, parish priest of St. Raphael’s in the early 1800s and later first Ontario bishop. The community is invited to learn how they can participate in this success story.

Glengarry Nor’Westers and Loyalist Museum in Williamstown
The Museum preserves and interprets the history of the United Empire Loyalist migration to Glengarry County and of the Glengarry partners of the North West Company.

Not merely stoic in its’ staunch preservation of local heritage, the Museum also enacts and hosts a wide variety of educational programs and exciting events.

Glengarry Pioneer Museum in Dunvegan
The Glengarry Pioneer Museum’s mandate is to preserve, maintain, interpret and promote the artifacts, records, culture and events of the pioneers who settled in the area in order to create a tangible link with the past, and to ensure that the present generation and those to come might know and appreciate the experiences of their forebears.

The Museum opened its doors in 1962. The Museum’s original structure started life as the MacIntosh store in the 1840s. It is this period in which it remains. Ten other buildings have slowly been relocated to the site from the surrounding areas to help interpret and house its rich history.

The area in which the Museum covers is primarily Glengarry County, the oldest in what was Upper Canada, now Ontario. All artifacts, whether archival documents, photographs, objects or even oral histories are items which have some link to this area, and are predominantly from the 19th century.

Heritage Cornwall
Heritage Cornwall is a municipal heritage committee that functions as an advisory committee to the City of Cornwall concerning heritage preservation and calls forth this annual Heritage Fair.

Volunteers also staff the Cornwall (local history) Room of the Cornwall Public Library from 1 pm to 4 pm each Wednesday and are available to assist the public with research.

Loyal Orange Association of Canada
Loyal Organge Association of Canada is an old Loyalist Lodge that was once very strong in our area. The old Orange Hall in Cornwall was on the N.W. corner of Pitt and 1st. Street. One of their members has many historic photographs, pins, books and banners as well as some artifacts from branches, such as the Royal Black Knights.

Lost Villages Historical Society & Museum
Located on Fran Laflamme Drive, just west of Cornwall, the Lost Villages Museum site consists of ten heritage buildings, moved and restored to Ault Park from The Lost Villages and surrounding historic townships.

Members of the Society help run a variety of activities and events during the tourist season (early spring, summer and late fall). With this support, the museum site is able to operate six months a year.

One of the main goals of the Lost Villages Historical Society is to inform the public, and specifically school children, about the loss of communities which formerly existed along the St. Lawrence River, prior to the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project in the late 1950s.

Ontario East British Home Child Family
Throughout the late nineteenth century, Britain was faced with the industrial revolution which in part resulted in poverty, pollution, and social inequality, forcing many children to have to go into care.

Some 100,000 British Home Children were sent to Canada from the United Kingdom (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) between 1869 and 1948. It was hoped that these children being sent to Canada would find a better life and future. A great majority of these children were indentured or contracted out as domestics or farm labourers in Ontario and across Canada. Many of these young children became productive members of Canadian society.

The Ontario East British Home Child Family collect, preserve and share such things as letters, home visit papers, clothing, trunks and other articles which relate to the British Home Children. The volunteers with this group inform and educate individuals about the British Home Children. As well, they stage events which bring awareness to British Home Children.

Railways of SD&G
Many people are fascinated with the trains and railways of yesteryear and this geographic area has a long and rich history that intertwines with that. Come and learn more by interacting with others who share that passion.

United Empire Loyalists
The Loyalists’ attachment to legality, compromise, representative government and constitutional monarchy laid the foundations of modern Canada, a multicultural, evolutionary country.

For their fidelity and sacrifices, the refugee Loyalists were given the right to append the letters U.E. to their names. This is Canada’s only inherited title. The Loyalists, their sons and daughters were also given special Lands Grants. Also known a SUE and Due grants.

Those Loyalists who have adhered to the Unity of the Empire and joined the Royal Standard before the Treaty of Separation in the 1783 and all their children, and their descendants by either sex are to be distinguished by the following capitals affixed to their names, U.E., alluding to their great principal, The Unity of the Empire.

Additional Information
Planning a visit to Cornwall? Cornwall Tourism can help. Email us at to request a copy of our Visitor Guide or contact us at (613) 933-0074. You can also stop by our Visitor Information Centre at 100 Water Street East (inside the Civic Complex).

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Article by Kevin Lajoie